The Porsche 911 GT3 ‘Touring Package’ builds on the idea of the Touring Package variants of the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS. The 911 Carrera RS was offered in two trim packages: Touring and Sport Lightweight. The Touring package included a radio, carpets and other modern features while the Sport Lightweight variant was a stripped out racing car which was only just road legal.
The modern day interpretation of the Touring model is more about purism than provision of additional functionalities or comfort. By dropping the rear wing the Touring adds a familiar sense of understatement recently offered by the very popular 911 R.
The Porsche 911 GT3 Touring comes with the now familiar 4.0 liter six-cylinder naturally aspirated boxer engine. It produces 500hp at 8,250 rpm and a maximum torque of 460Nm. The red line is at 9,000 rpm. Thanks to an unladen weight of just 1,413 kg it accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and hits 200 km/h in 11.5 seconds. If you keep your foot down it eventually reaches a top speed of 319 km/h.
The GT3 Touring only comes with a 6-Speed GT manual sports gearbox which might not be as fast as the PDK but is certainly a lot more engaging to drive. Torque vectoring and a mechanical rear differential lock are standard. The sport chassis with adaptive dampers rides 25mm lower than a normal 911 – something which you can clearly see when looking at the 911 GT3 Touring from the side. A high performance braking system with 380mm discs front and rear provide excellent stopping power, PCCB ceramic brakes are an optional extra.
Design wise the body remains the same as the ‘normal’ GT3 with exception of the backside. The fixed rear wing is replaced with the extending spoiler of the 911 Carrera with the addition of a gurney flap. Without the wing it doesn’t lose its aggressive stance particular thanks to the wider wheel arches.
Inside alcantara has largely made way for black leather while the steering wheel gets a very clean look without a single button or lever. The manual stick shift is positioned just right and all key buttons like those to open the exhaust flaps and engage sport mode can be reached without looking away from the road. The carbon fibre sport seats provide excellent support and not as tight as those found in other sports cars. Still they are not as comfortable for long journeys especially since the backrest can’t be adjusted.
So, what is it like to drive? Pretty much just as amazing as the 911 GT3. Slightly slower than the GT3 PDK variant but it offers a lot more smiles per mile. The rear-axle steering adds a lot to the cornering agility. Our test car was equipped with winter tires which normally are a major drawback but both the latest generation Pirelli Sottozero and Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 high performance winter tires equipped on our 911 T and 911 GT3 Touring handled surprisingly well.
One thing that would hold me back from buying a 911 GT3 is the over the top rear wing that looks a bit out of place on journeys that do not involve a race track or mountain pass. With the new 911 GT3 Touring, Porsche offers a very appealing and great looking alternative for those like me that love to enjoy everything the 911 GT3 offers but prefer a slightly lower profile. The GT3 Touring is largely the same as the normal GT3 and not as puristic as the 911 T so why not also offer it with the faster PDK? Nonetheless the Porsche 911 GT3 Touring is a very, very desirable sports car with a great sound, beautiful engine and superb handling.